If I get into an accident while driving to a jobsite, does my employer have to pay for my injuries?

When an injury is work related

Injuries that result from an accident are deemed work related if they “arise out of and in the course of employment.”   Exactly when an employee is “in the course of employment” has been extensively reviewed by the courts in New Jersey.

 

The “going and coming” rule

Accidents which occur on the way to or from work are covered under what is commonly referred to as the “going and coming” rule. The actual act of driving to or from the office is not considered a benefit to the employer. Thus, until a worker is doing something that is a direct benefit to the employer or which is directly under the employer’s control, an accident is not work related.

Generally, employment commences when an employee arrives at the employer’s place of employment to report for work and ends when the employee leaves the workplace. Basically, only those injuries that occur while you are under the control of your employer are covered by workers’ compensation.

 

Exceptions to the “going and coming” rule: when it does and does not apply

There are two general exceptions to the “going and coming” rule. The first is known as the “special mission.” A special mission occurs when an employee is required to be away from their normal workplace by the employer or if the employee is actually engaged in the direct performance of employment duties. This includes travel to meet with a client.

Another exception is the “travel time” exception. This allows “portal-to-portal” or “door-to-door” coverage for employees if:

(1) They are paid for travel time to a distant job site;

(2) They are using an employer authorized vehicle for travel to and from a distant job site and on business authorized by the employer; or

(3) The employee is injured while carpooling and the vehicle being used is owned, leased or contracted for by the employer, or the employee is required by the employer to carpool as a condition of employment.

Another exception to the “coming and going” rule is if an employee has a designated parking spot or the employer owns the parking lot which the employee is parking in, employment generally starts when the employee steps out of the car. However if there is a general parking lot, employment doesn’t start until the employee steps into the employer’s building or a sidewalk under the control of the employer.

Additionally, if an employee is engaged in any activity that is work related, for example, a cell phone call with a client or colleague regarding work; it should be covered by workers’ compensation, regardless of whether the employee is on their way to or from the office. In these situations, the employee would be directly performing a job duty and entitled to workers compensation benefits.

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About RAM Law

RAM Law represents all of Central Jersey in personal injury cases and is staffed by experienced accident and injury attorneys. We provide legal help for victims of slip and fall accidents, medical malpractice, workplace injuries, truck and car accidents, and other personal injuries. Call (732) 247-3600 to discuss your case and set up a free consultation at our New Brunswick or Somerville law offices.

 

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